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William Castle Movie
on January 24, 2011
When I was a kid I used to buy a magazine called, "Famous Monsters of Filmland." I would see photographs from creepy movies and they would fire my imagination. I wanted to know what happened next. Well, now, millions of years later, I remember some of the titles and I buy them when they show up, like this one for instance. They don't always turn out as expected.
The story concerns a Doctor who is hated by the townsfolk because they blame him for the death of a young, blind woman. While he is out his housekeeper receives a telephone call saying his daughter, a child, has been kidnapped and buried alive and has air for about four to five hours. On hearing this the housekeeper faints. When the Doctor gets back he revives her and she tells him what's happened.
Now, these people would never get any Oscars for acting. The girl takes forever to tell the Doctor the details of the phone call. The first thing out of her mouth is not, "Oh Doc, they,ve got your daughter and buried her alive somewhere." No, she goes on about how the person asked her where the Doctor was and that she told the caller he was out, then the caller laughed and frightened her and blah, blah, blah. When the Doctor IS told his daughter is missing does he scream and panic like a normal person? No, he's very thoughtful, takes a shovel and he and the housekeeper drive what seems like a long way to a cemetery to look for freshly dug graves. They dig here and there but find nothing. Various people turn up and they have discussions with each of them...Remember now, there is a child buried alive in a coffin slowly suffocating...but the Doc has all the time in the world. He even attends another funeral, held at midnight. Well, I'm not telling you any more, you'll have to watch it yourselves. - It has great atmosphere, the graveyard has the overgrown tombs and the swirling mist, hands appearing from behind gravestones etc. and the end titles are unusual.
This film was directed by William Castle. Generally speaking I like his films, they are usually oddities. He had a gimmick for this one in that all members of the audience were insured for $1,000 if they died of fright while watching the movie. Ha, I'd like to see anyone collect on that one. For one thing how would they prove someone had died of fright? And, for another there is nothing in this movie that is that scary. Amusingly though the audience is asked at the start of the picture to look out for the person sitting next to them, to make sure they are ok.
Another thing to mention is that I have read that Warner Bros. are making their discs in their, Archive Collection, of which this is one, on demand. This seems to mean that this and the other discs in the series are not being released in the usual way but are manufactured as people order them. The discs look different too, they are a purpley blue colour and look as if they have been burned on a computer. THEY ARE OFFICIAL RELEASES however, they are NOT pirates or copies. On the back cover a notice says, "This disc is expected to play back in DVD video play only devices, and may not play back in other DVD devices including recorders and PC devices." I tried it on my computer and it played ok. It's not region one encoded and should play in Britain with no problems. The black and white picture quality is superb, nice contrast, good, deep blacks and brilliant whites. Pity they've cropped it at top and bottom to make it widescreen. I wish they wouldn't do that to these old movies. At about £26 these Archive Collection series are pricey so, if they don't sell many these titles may be deleted.
All in all though, I enjoyed this, even with the rubbish acting - it WAS 1957 after all, and I like nostalgia.